Valerie Ising

Beyond the Comfort Zone

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With a voice that recalls a young Barbra Streisand, Valerie Ising sings of darkness and light over Rudy Ising's slick arrangements. At best, songs like "Land of Make Believe" and "Troubled Eyes" evoke a dreamy fantasy world, part Portishead and part Julee Cruise, and rich ballads like "Leap of Faith" make perfect entries in the adult contemporary pop genre, rivaling even Sarah McLachlan. But at other moments, like "Light of Day," Ising's composing can seem stilted and too easily derived from the most mainstream of '80s adult pop. It's a mixed bag, but Ising's voice is powerful and her instincts for conveying emotion are strong. When the music is stripped down enough to get out of her way, Ising really shines.

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